Monday, April 23, 2012
The recent announcement that the state would pick up the local share of our FEMA public assistance projects was music to our ears.
It was long-awaited good news for every community affected by Irene and Lee.
For many weeks before the announcement, the Schoharie County highway superintendents and thousands of other local officials across the state were agonizing over the staggering costs we were facing as a result of the massive flooding.
Bills for materials and contractors for clearing debris, repairing roads and bridges, and doing emergency stream work had piled up to unbelievable amounts.
Counties, towns, villages, schools and others were using every bit of available funds and take on emergency loans to pay these bills, even as we struggled to continue our services to the public.
We were facing financial ruin, and many of us were not sure how we could ever find our way out.
Over the several months, we have reached out to the governor and many other officials for help. With no real answer, our anxiety and frustrations grew.
In that frustration, we personally asked our assemblyman, Pete Lopez, R-Schoharie, to help make the plea for relief. He not only listened to us, but brought the case directly to Gov. Cuomo, camping on this doorstep to help the governor understand the urgency of our situation.
The announcement from the governor, Assemblyman Lopez and his partners in the Legislature showed us that honest communication – on the merits and in good faith – can work.
With their help, we will continue our efforts to bring our communities back.
Thank you, Gov. Cuomo. Thank you, Assemblyman Lopez.
The writer is president of the Schoharie County Highway Superintendents’ Association.